The UK Coalition’s first education white paper The
Importance of Teaching argued that public services “improve most when
professionals feel free to do what they believe is right, and are properly
accountable for the results.” It also promised to create a “more autonomous
school system” and to “dismantle the apparatus of central control and
Since the white paper appeared new flexibilities have indeed
been introduced, relating to the qualifications that state teachers require and
the curriculum that they teach, a number of educational quangos have been
closed, including the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency and the
General Teaching Council for England.
At the same time there is a widespread perception that many
aspects of public education are still not working, particularly in terms of
student behaviour, especially at secondary level. For this reason it is perhaps
unsurprising that the most significant regulator of education,t he Office for
Standards in Education (OfSTED), has if anything seen its role enhanced and
OfSTED has recently announced plans to step up the pressure on schools, with
zero notice inspections of pupil behaviour.
Have teachers in fact got more or less freedom and what
regulatory framework would best support their work?
(Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture, Greater London
(Director of Progressway, DEMOS associate and author of Detoxifying
(Programme Leader, Secondary PGCE, Institute of Education,
(Chair, SCETT, Executive Member, Association of Teachers and